Tuesday, March 22, 2022

Literature Based Study of South Korea

I typically thrive on planning homeschool unit studies. I love coming up with all the crafts and projects and doing all the things. Several years ago I read the book Teaching From Rest by Sarah Mackenzie. I was struggling with wanting to do all the things while having a new baby at home and lots of little ones in the house. I was exhausted and feeling like a complete failure. I learned then, and it’s been reinforced through the years as more babies have been added to our family, to show myself grace and acknowledge that learning is happening even when it doesn’t look like it. Sarah MacKenzie wrote another book called The Read-Aloud Revival. I have not personally ready that book but I have listened to her Podcasts and have made read alouds a large part of our learning experience. 

The last few weeks it was not a new baby that brought me down, but a major autoimmune flare. I felt worse than I have in ten years. So our study of South Korea was a little different and included lots of snuggles and books. If you are looking for activities and crafts you can check out our Korean Heritage Study that we did a few years ago. 

Let’s take a look at our book list:

A Single Shard by Linda Sue Park
The kids are always making fun of me for crying at the end of stories and this one certainly brought out the tears. Set in a 12th Century potters village, it explores the life and art of ancient Korea through the heart warming tale of a 12 year old orphan boy. You could definitely have some fun trying different pottery techniques while reading this novel.

Last year we fell in love with World War II history and spent weeks reading historical fiction novels that take place during that time period. However, there are still so many excellent books out there we hadn’t read yet so I have been trying to incorporate them into our study of countries around the world. Once again I cried while reading the parallel tales of a Japanese family escaping from Northern Korea and their return to Japan. You could follow their journey on a map.

Dear Juno by Soyung Park
In this picture book, the young boy receives a letter from his grandmother who lives in Seoul. He cannot write yet, but he can draw pictures and in that way “writes” letters back and forth. You could write a letter using pictures to tell about the recent events in your life.

A cute little picture book about the popular Korean food Kimchi. Of course after reading it we had to try some Kimchi (thank you Walmart food pickup, lol). You could of course try to make some Kimchi, or make the Kimchi pancake recipe that is found in the back of the book. 

The Korean Cinderella by Shirley Climo
A Korean take on this popular fairytale, we had fun discussing the similarities and differences. You could make a Venn Diagram to compare. 

The Name Jar by Yangsook Choi
It is hard enough being a new girl in school, but what about being the new girl in a new country where people cannot even pronounce your name. Great book for launching conversations about identity, celebrating differences, culture, and kindness.

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Saturday, February 5, 2022

Iceland Homeschool Unit Study

We said Lehitrahott to Israel and GoĆ°an dag to Iceland. Due to a quarantine and subsequent ice/sleet/snow storm, we found ourselves with plenty of time at home to really dig into this study. Should you choose to study Iceland, just be warned that you may find your kids asking you for plane tickets to Iceland... don't ask me how I know, lol!

As we "travel" around the world, we always start with our reading from Passport to the World. I also checked the book Iceland: Enchantment of the World out from the library to use as a resource, reading a chapter here and there from it throughout the two weeks. I chose several novels to use to guide our studies. The first one we read was The Hardy Boys Book #48, The Arctic Patrol Mystery. While engaging and fun, this book actually contains a lot of facts about Iceland in it and is a great book to use for a literature based study of Iceland. I wrote a complete unit study plan that includes more than 40 writing prompts and 50 activities for exploration that encompass all of the scholastic subjects that is available for purchase on Teachers Pay Teachers

We studied Norse culture and made rock trolls out of clay.

We dug deeper into Geysers and how they work with this book.

We did a little experiment to simulate a geyser using diet soda and mentos. Then we watched several YouTube videos of actual geysers in Iceland. We also watched a video of how Icelanders use this geothermal energy to bake rye geyser bread.

We read a book about glaciers and found some of the major glaciers on a map of Iceland.

Our daughter painted a scene of the glaciers against the backdrop of the Northern Lights.

When we read that Polar Bears occasionally cross to Iceland from Greenland on ice bridges that form, she then painted this picture.

This led to a study of other animals that can be found in Iceland. Our children fell in love with the puffins and decided to draw some. They even drew entire puffin families.

We made an Icelandic inspired meal, complete with Salmon, Kartoflusalat (an Icelandic Potato Salad recipe from the book Iceland: Enchantment of the World), and Piparkokur (Icelandic Pepper Cookies). 

We have one daughter that absolutely loves horses, so we read Winter Pony.

Then I stumbled across this gem at the library. Horse Diaries is a series of historical fiction novels, and this first one, Elska, is about Iceland Circa 1000 A.D. I always try to plan learning around the interests of our children, so I used Elska to create a second literature based unit study of Iceland

Because this book takes place Circa 1000 A.D., we dove into a study of the Vikings. We read Leif the Lucky and made Viking ships. 

We already read several Magic Treehouse books, including Viking Ships at Sunrise, Narwhal on a Sunny Night, and Polar Bears Past Midnight.

Takk (thank you) for stopping by! For more homeschool inspiration check out the Homeschooling Tab at the top of the page and visit us on Instagram @Pocketful_of_Treasures.

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